Open Up Shop

I officially have my very own Etsy store!

Nimble Nimble (Apparently Nimble Fingers was not available as a store name. Eh. Nimble Nimble is cute.)

I’ve been working on making these small woodland animals for about a month now. They are 100% all mine.

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From sketching, to pattern making and fabric choice and figuring out construction. Everything.

Bunny

Bunny

I like to think they have a goofy charm. They are not perfect, which is what I love the most about them. They have a personality. It is not manufactured. It is handmade.

Squirrel

Squirrel

I’m into experimenting with different patterned fabrics and colors to give them a little extra life. I also put some hand embroidered touches into the mix with the eyes and noses. If anyone loves the pattern but isn’t into the fabric, I am more than willing to take requests for custom pieces!

Beaver

Beaver

Along with the stuffed animals, I am selling small cross stitching ditties.

Que Sera Sera (whatever will be, will be)

(whatever will be, will be)

Right now I’m really into little affirmational sayings that just make you feel a little bit better when you’re feeling anxious. Even if it is for no reason at all.

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Have your own favorite saying or phrase that makes you feel awesome? Let me know and I’ll put it in writing.

I will continuously be working on more items for Nimble Nimble, so keep checking out the store and if you love it, share it with your friends.

Enjoy!

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Feng Shui Attack: A Before and After Story

It’s one thing to have a craft table and a whole ‘nother thing to have a craft spaceI am on the verge of beginning a huge project but I find myself to be stuck. Very stuck. A few months ago I worked on beautifying my craft space, and it helped for a little while. But I still need more of a division between dining area and crafting nirvana. I know that with the space I have available to me, nirvana is far from being reached, but I am determined to get just a step closer.

Step 1: A hot mess.

Step 1: A hot mess.

I began with this. Clutter everywhere because I hate putting stuff away, a bookshelf in the corner that wasn’t serving much of a purpose because the shelves are a quarter of a circle, and a round table sitting in the middle of the space, thus wasting the area around it. Just, a mess.

Step 2: Getting rid of the little things.

Step 2: Getting rid of the little things.

I cleared off the table, got that big bookshelf out of the corner and swapped it with an existing nightstand that I had in my bedroom. This shelving is perfectly functional, as it holds my baskets and mini totes full of crafty odds-and-ends perfectly.

Step 3: Make the area.

Step 3: Shape the area.

Luckily, the eaves of my round table drop down to make a cute little rectangular table. Scooched that all the way over to one side of the nook so I had a raw space to work with. I used my cutting mat and ruler to determine what size of table I could work with. Thankfully, we had an existing make-shift table in our apartment that fit perfectly. (Unfortunately for the Boy, I stole his computer desk so he had to go find a new one.) I also vacuumed.

Step 5: Finishing.

Step 5: Finishing.

Once I put the table in, it all came together. Now that the table isn’t taking up the entire area, the space looks huge. I think I am as close to crafting nirvana that I can be in this space. The only thing that would make it better is if I had a comfier chair. I need to suck it up and get one.

I am tickled to start my new project in my new crafting area which is… a surprise that I will be sharing with you in the next couple blog posts.

Enjoy, everyone!

Potstickers. Need I say more?

Let’s make some Asian dumplings because everybody loves them!
Plus, they are actually very easy to make and cost efficient. And though they are slightly time consuming, they are worth it.

Asian Turkey Dumplings with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Yield 40-50 dumplings

10 oz ground turkey
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs scallions, diced
1 tsp grated ginger, fresh
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp sesame oil
Wonton wrappers, square or round

Combine all ingredients together and marinade at least 30 minutes before folding the dumplings.
If you don’t have ground turkey use whatever you have on hand. Ground chicken, ground pork, even finely diced shrimp will work perfectly in this recipe.

Ginger Scallion Dipping Sauce

3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs grated ginger, fresh
2 Tbs scallions
1 Tbs vinegar
¼ tsp red chili flakes
¼ tsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together and marinate while the dumplings are being folded. You can keep any leftovers in the fridge. I highly urge you to to buy fresh cilantro and fresh ginger. It really makes all the difference!

I’m not joking.

Do it.

Now that you have the ingredients, let’s assemble. All you’ll need is your filling, a small bowl of water and the wonton wrappers.

Step 1: Take your wonton wrapper and put a teaspoon of your filling in the center. If you overfill it, you won't be able to fold it.

Step 1: Take your wonton wrapper and put a teaspoon of your filling in the center. If you overfill it, you won’t be able to fold it.

Step 2: Dip your fingers in the water bowl and wet the edge of your wrapper.

Step 2: Dip your fingers in the water bowl and wet the edge of your wrapper. You’ll want to work quickly. The water acts as glue to keep the folds sealed.

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Step 3: Fold your wrapper over your filling, and starting on one side, seal the corner by pressing lightly.

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Step 4: Once one corner is pressed down, it is time for the first pleat (or fold). Make it small because you will be doing three folds on your dumpling.

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Step 5: Your second pleat will be made immediately after the first, pressing them down along the way to seal the dumpling well.

Step 6: The third and final fold.

Step 6: The third and final fold.

Step 7: Seal it completely by pressing the last open edge together, just like the beginning.

Step 7: Seal it completely by pressing the last open edge together, just like the beginning.

Step 8: Stand the dumpling up and smoosh the bottom down a bit so it can stand on its own.

Step 8: Stand the dumpling up and smoosh the bottom down a bit so it can stand on its own.

As you can see, one side will be flat and the other will have the pleats. Don't freak out if your pleats are not evenly spaced. It's not a big deal because they will taste delicious anyway!

As you can see, one side will be flat and the other will have the pleats. Don’t freak out if your pleats are not evenly spaced. It’s not a big deal because the dumplings will taste delicious anyway!

Eventually, you will have a lot of dumplings.

Eventually, you will have a lot of dumplings.

 

I made all of mine ahead of time and kept them in the fridge until later that night. You can also freeze them on a sheet tray, then put them into freezer bags for storage for a couple of weeks. They are great for dinner parties and even better when your guests help you make them. Once you get into the rhythm of folding, the work will go by very quickly.

When it comes to cooking these beauties you have many options. Steaming, frying, poaching, etc. My favorite way is to pan fry them first, then steam them in the same pot to finish cooking them off. Hence the name “potsticker”.

It goes a little something like this.

1. Get a large nonstick pot or saute pan and put a couple of Tablespoons of vegetable oil in the bottom, heated to medium high heat. You want enough oil to completely cover the bottom, but not so much that your potstickers are drowning in the stuff.

2. Put the dumplings in, but do not try to crowd them all in at once. I do mine in two batches, and keep the first batch in the oven to keep warm at the lowest setting.

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3. Fry the dumplings until the bottoms are golden brown, then add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and immediately cover the pan with a lid. It is best to do this quickly, otherwise you will have hot oil flying everywhere. Have that lid ready!

4. Steam the dumplings for 5-7 minutes or until the water is all gone. Take the lid off and leave on for one more minute to achieve optimum browning.

Then, take them out and share with people you care about.

Because, really, you went through all of that folding, so whoever is eating them better appreciate it.

Enjoy your dumpling feast!

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration Nation

I am suffering from bloggers guilt. I have not posted something for 3 weeks, and for that I am sorry. This semester has been an overload of food, recipes and travel, all of which I have enjoyed. It is the end of the semester, and I wish I had taken more pictures for everyone to see the crazy stuff that has been created! Alas, I did not, but I am hoping to get back into the habit for my final semester, which is Buffet and Catering.

Now.

I’m not in the market for beginning a new major project, so I figured this is the best time to at least be on the lookout for inspiration.
My inspiration comes from books, illustrations, random found object, even things I find in my own collection of “junk”. I am hoping some of my finds will jog my creative spirit.

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mussles rackham_riding2

I am still on the lookout.

*Please take note that these illustrations are from other beautiful artists, not me.

Time for Tea

I have been suffering from a cold.

The nasty, achy, snotty, congested, sore throat, losing your voice kind of a cold. The cold that almost keeps me from crafting! Almost.

I feel the end is near but have been drinking plenty of tea to sooth my tortured throat.

To make my tea I have been just heating up some water in the microwave. Not so fancy. And sometimes, you need a little fanciness to counteract the grossness and make it all better.

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Behold! My new fancy.  And, it whistles! A legitimate, full-fledged whistle. I just love it.

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I also decided to break out my very special tea cup that my dear friend got me a few years back.

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Peacocks make things very fancy.

What little things do you, dear reader, like to do to make your day a little fancier?

Because your floors need attention, too.

I’ve been enjoying my break from school and work. It is been filled with 5 Christmas celebrations, organizing all of my stuff at home for a move to Kansas City and, of course, crafting!

Silly me, I thought I’d be too busy to craft so I left my trusty craft bin in Minnesota. Lucky for me, this made me think of something new to do, which is never a bad thing.

I love making functional home items, so that the creative spirit can be around me at all times. Since I had no yarn around me, I decided to make my own. Out of T-Shirts. My best friend’s mother happened to have an entire stash of old T-shirts just begging to be re-purposed  so we found this wonderful tutorial and began slicing away.

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We first made a woven rug from the T-shirt yarn, which were very cute, but a little small. The rectagular rug is roughly 11″x17″. It was woven with a makeshift loom made from a corrugated cardboard box. In general, it was a nice afternoon craft.

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I decided to explore the rug idea further, this time with a crochet hook.

The original tutorial uses a very thick rope and the largest crochet hook imaginable. I fudged and used my T-shirt yarn and a size ‘N’ hook, which is the largest I could find in my Mom’s stash.

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Since the yarn I used is thinner than the rope, the pattern did not make the 4 ft rug as shown. Once again, I just fudged my way though it and repeated the pattern to the best of my ability until I used up all of my yarn.

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It was a challenge to add onto the rug without making the edges ripple, but overall I am very happy with the result.

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I think this rug will make its home in my tiny kitchen in Kansas City.

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Behind Enemy Lines

Bakers and Culinary folk are pitted against each other in school. A friendly rivalry, of course. There is one semester in which the baking and pastry students get to chuckle to themselves and watch the culinary students bake.

Clearly, this is the semester for me.

All of my pastry friends seem very curious to know how my class is going, and seem fairly surprised to find out that I haven’t burnt anything to a crisp… yet. (This is not really how they act, but I imagine it to be true)

So far, I have made…

  • Baguettes
  • Biscuits
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Brioche
  • Focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and thyme

All in the first week!

We are making croissants and puff pastry on Monday, which I am very excited about.

It is nice to do something different for a change, but I am pretty sure I made the right decision with culinary. Measuring every last ingredient is not my schtick. I am far too impatient.

To close, please enjoy a picture of my plant. Since I cannot have a pet in my apartment, this plant is the closest thing I have. A green thumb is not something I naturally possess, so my plant and I struggle often. It’s even a succulent, which is supposed to be the easiest kind of plant to take care of; however, I have brought it to the brink of death several times.

I think I am getting the hang of it though.

The Early Bird

Halloween is slowly, but steadily, approaching and I refused to let it sneak up on me again this year! You can only pull of a bed sheet toga so many times before you become predictable.

This year I am going to be a parrot. Yes, a parrot. I will be creating this entire costume myself, as well!

Looks like fun, right?

The felt will be for the feathers and the glittery foam will be for a mask (beak). I also have some feathers, red t-shirt and ribbon there. I am still working out the details in my head, but construction should begin sooner rather than later. Why so soon? I am a lucky girl, lucky enough to have a certain boyfriend of mine to be Jafar for a matching costume set!

I will be making him a hat and a snake scepter after I finish my Iago costume.

Class has moved quickly from sauces to soups to vegetables and now tomorrow we will be making fettuccine alfredo! It is hard to believe that there are only two more weeks left of this semester. Everything moves so quickly it is hard to take the time to appreciate how much I’ve learned along the way, especially between full time work and full time school. A girl has got to sleep!

Why don’t I just leave some of these food pictures here for you to enjoy?

Lentil Salad with Vinaigrette

Pasta e’Fagioli

Braised Lettuce Rolls stuffed with bacon and breadcrumbs

“Eat your vegetables, lest they eat you”

Soups are a thing of the past, and Vegetables are the new ‘IT’ thing to do. At least in my class. I was getting tired of smelling like soup, anyhow. Haricot verts with red pepper and Carrot Vichy are the first two vegetable dishes. Haricot verts are green beans, don’t let the name fool you.

Carrot Vichy is called as such because in the town of Vichy, France, there is a spring that naturally produces water with gas already in it! Crazy, right? It is technically correct to use water from Vichy, however, we used Perrier. Or regular tap water.

Enjoy!

Haricot verts with Red Pepper

Carrot Vichy

Me Time

Recipe for  Blissful Moments

1 Large cup of coffee sweetened with honey
1 Basket filled with embroidery floss and a current project
Pandora’s 60’s Folk Radio or Classic Indie Radio (to taste)

It looks a little something like this

Blissful Moments

That weird looking red embroidered hair blob is my next endeavor!

Reading

 

I am perusing a series titled “Me Time”. It will encompass all the things I love to do by myself; the things that always cheer me up or calm me down. The things that keep me sane. The characters won’t look like me necessarily because I believe these are things that a lot of people do to relax. It’s for everyone. (I am testing my first doodle on some scrap fabric, so please pardon the fabric pills.)

Enjoy the sneak peek and keep visiting to keep up with this current project!